Paracelsus, and Other Gauntly Matters
Thank all of you so much for your reviews! I'm glad you're all enjoying the story, and I hope I can continue to make it good.
Sadly the scene between Hadrian and Tom is small in this chapter, but there are bigger ones coming soon. =) Be warned, this chapter needs a lot of editing.
The letter was a portkey, and the boy would definitely be more cautious with future mail.
Hadrian dazedly observed the portkey's chosen destination. The room was rather grand; richly decorated and spacious. The young wizard noticed tapestries decorated with the Gaunt family crest hanging on the walls.
Someone was poking fun, and he knew who was responsible. Feeling incredibly dense for not figuring it out sooner, the boy's eyes angrily raked the room in search of his dear cousin.
"Hello Hadrian," the voice was right behind Hadrian, too close for comfort.
Hadrian whipped around. Tom Riddle stood close, little over an arm's length away. It was easy for the boy to see just how self-satisfied Riddle was. The man's posture was one of victory. Amusement danced in the man's red eyes; coupled with a concieted smile.
The boy glowered up at the towering figure. How? How did Riddle do it? Morfin hadn't gotten a challenge for his lordship. Even if he had, it would have been extremely difficult for Riddle to win now that Morfin had an heir.
"How?" Hadrian tightly asked.
Riddle's smile grew. "Due to you mindlessly claiming Heir to an nonexistent Lord, it was quite easy."
The boy tensed. Confusion and disbelief hammered through his mind. The Gaunt Lordship had been empty? That was impossible! In his surprise, Hadrian was finding it hard to form any coherent reply. He stood gaping at the elder wizard.
Riddle looked delighted with the boy's astonishment. "Your fool father never claimed lordship. Nor did his father. The position has sat empty ever since your great grandfather passed. I was pleasantly surprised to find I could not only become Lord Gaunt, but also gain an heir with no struggle."
Riddle took a step closer, a challenge. Like the man was trying to assert his dominance over him. The boy, with great difficulty, refused to submit and take a step back from the invasion of his personal space.
That handsome face leaned in very close to his own. "You left yourself wide open for the taking, Hadrian," the man whispered, crimson eyes crinkled with pleasure.
Damn it all. Unnerved, Hadrian took several steps back after that little show.
His damn Father. The damn Goblin. Damned Ridde. To lose this to Riddle for something so simple! Did Morfin just think he automatically gained Lordship without claiming it? He shouldn't be surprised. And Hadrian had known something odd was going on with the Goblin; he should have investigated. How frustrating it was; Riddle was victorious through nothing but lucky happenstance.
"What do you want? I had thought you had said that my title, the Gaunt titles, did not interest you." Hadrian hissed.
"I don't have much interest in the Gaunt titles. Without you as heir, I would not bother with the Lordship. There's no need to worry; you do still have your beloved Heir title."
Was Riddle implying what Hadrian thought he was? 'Of course he was,' the boy bitterly thought.
"You took the Lordship to gain power over me? It won't work. Disown me. I will not let you have any control over me through this." the boy's normally pleasant hiss sounded rough and choppy in his outragej. Hadrian hated the idea of being officially disowned from Gaunt, however it was far better then letting this bastard use it against him.
"You will find that I have quite a bit of control over you now, whether you like it or not. I will not disown you anytime in the near future," Riddle quietly hissed. "And, if I wished it, I would have complete guardianship. We both know it would be so very simple to prove your current guardian unfit."
His cousin's ridiculous speech only earned a scoff from the boy. No way in hell; Hadrian would never allow that to happen.
What could his cousin want with him? There was nothing special about Hadrian, and Riddle didn't seem the type to just want family companionship. Hadrian keenly observed the man. He couldn't understand.
"I don't understand. What do you want with me?"
"Perhaps I would only like to get to know you better, cousin." Icy dark magic blanketed the boy; causing the small body to erupt in shivers.
Hadrian grit his teeth against the sensation and ground out, "If you only wanted to know me then you could come over for the bloody holidays. What do you want?"
Rich laughter echoed in the room; Hadrian could have enjoyed its pleasing timbre in different circumstances. It only irk him now.
"For now, I want you to attend Hogwarts. I have a letter right here for you; which you will accept," the man pulled a letter from his cloak, and a long-fingered hand held it out to Hadrian.
The boy only stared at it. The pale hand holding said letter wore a ring. The metallic symbol of Gaunt glinted mockingly at him. Hadrian drug his eyes back up to Riddle's face.
The man was highly amused, and he seemed certain Hadrian would take the letter. That Hadrian would give in.
It was all too much.
Hot anger burned through his blood. The ring, the tapestries, the arrogance. And he still didn't know what Riddle could gain by forcing him to Hogwarts. The boy wanted to destroy that calm, holier-then-though atmosphere Riddle carried.
The boy snatched the letter. With deliberate slowness Hadrian tore the letter up while looking challengingly into red eyes. It was gratifying to see Riddle's eyes narrow in displeasure. 'Not so smug now.'
"You are my heir. I could force you; why not make it easy for yourself?" Riddle's voice was a note lower, yet it was also more threatening.
The man must think him stupid. Hadrian at least knew that even as Lord, Riddle could only force him to Hogwarts if his current guardian failed to provide proper education. The boy gathered his magic to him and quickly checked for wards. No wards at all. How surprising.
"I will not be going to Hogwarts, and I don't know what game you're playing, but I want no part of it," Hadrian said, and gathered his courage for his next supremely stupid action.
The boy quickly hocked a loogie and spat in Tom Riddle's stupid face. It was a nasty one; right under an eye and dripping down the cheek.
'The ultimate fuck you,' Hadrian thought gleefully.
Hadrian almost laughed at the dumbfounded expression the man wore. Unfortunately his satisfaction was short-lived, and quickly replaced by fear.
Riddle hissed and the dark magic swirled rampantly. The face was contorted by a snarl, and red eyes were murderous as the man's powerful legs carried him towards the boy.
"Now would be a good time to leave," Hadrian decided.
"You disgusting little-"
The man stopped, surprised as Hadrian apparated away. Riddle's angry snarl was the last thing the boy heard.
Within seconds Hadrian was standing outside his shack. Riddle didn't see that coming did he? Hadrian wasn't really even supposed to be able to apparate, and he was never more thankful for Morfin and the ability then now. It probably wouldn't work a second time. If he was ever trapped by Riddle again, he was sure the man would think to put anti-apparation wards up.
Right, never ever be alone with his cousin again….would it be possible to avoid another situation like that? Did Hadrian just sign his own death warrant with that? Hadrian sighed, it was very likely.
The boy moved forward, over the rotting porch and through the front door. Morfin was awake.
"Where've you been?"
Looking at his father, Hadrian couldn't bring himself to tell Morfin that Riddle was now Lord Gaunt. No matter how irritatingly stupid he could be. That was one of the few things that could probably break his father's small heart.
"I was just out browsing through a few book shops."
"Anything good?" Morfin turned his hunched form to fully face Hadrian.
Morfin grunted. "Could use a good read."
Normally Hadrian would go back out and get a book to please his father. Today the boy didn't have the time or patience to read for Morfin. There was work to be done if he didn't want to go to Hogwarts.
"I'll have a look again tomorrow, Morfin."
Morifin's only reply was an uninterested grunt. Soon the ugly, dark eyes turned to look out the window, dismissing Hadrian.
The wizard swept across the room to an old bookcase. He blew dust from a pile of parchment and gathered bottled ink and a kinked quill. The boy approached the dining room and sat on one of two chairs. The chair groaned and creaked under his weight. And just as he was about to begin to write, the stressed chair broke.
Hadrian crashed into the ground. "Bloody chair."
Morfin howled with laughter, spit flying from the grotesque lips. Hadrian gave his father a dirty look from the floor.
"Laugh it up will you?" The wizard slowly rose from the ground. Hadrian's pale hands brushed through messy black hair as he took in their shack. It wouldn't do for the shack to remain as it was; he had a lot of work ahead of him.
Ignoring Morfin's continued laughter, the boy sent out to fix the place up.
By late afternoon, Hadrian was finished. Their shack was barely recognizable. Being spotlessly clean really made a difference. Along with the fixed and polished furniture. The exterior was just as improved. At the very least, Riddle could no longer gain guardianship due to poor living arrangements.
It had been exhausting work. Hadrian gazed down at his wand. It would not have been half as bad if he wasn't fighting his wand every time he used it. It wasn't his wand really; it used to belong to his grandfather. Examining the ugly shaft of hawthorn, Hadrian realized he disliked the wand as much as it disliked him. He longed to be able to afford a better companion; one that matched him. Oh well; one day he would.
"Morfin, I'll be back later." Picking up his completed letter, the boy exited the shack.
A dull, grey sky greeted him, and wind bit at his skin. The boy prepared to apparate.
Hadrian was interrupted as a sudden force burled into him, causing the boy to stumble forward.
Turning around he saw what crashed into him, a snowy owl rolled past him. Bemused, the wizard continued to observe the clumsy bird. The owl hopped up and gave itself a quick shake. It held a letter in one claw.
The bird looked at Hadrian with large yellow eyes. After a moment, it began to hop on one foot for the boy. One talon stretched out towards Hadrian, clutching a letter. Hadrian thought it would have been comical if not for his current unease with mail.
The closer the letter came, the more nervous the boy grew. Soon Hadrian began to take a step back with each hop the owl took. Growing frustrated, the bird began to hop quicker towards Hadrian. The increase in speed was too much for the owl's poor balance, and it toppled over.
"Just leave it there; I'll get it." It appeared the owl understood; for once it got up it dropped the letter. Angry yellow eyes locked on the wizard, and the white-feathered body stood rooted to the ground. Hadrian guessed it was waiting for a complete delivery. A clumsy and dedicated owl.
The boy observed the letter for a long moment. He carefully reached out to it with his magic. Hadrian couldn't feel any kind of curse, but that didn't mean that there wasn't any. Pulling out his wand, Hadrian cast the few detection spells he knew. Nothing. And still Hadrian wasn't confident enough with his meager detection skills. Were portkeys even detectable?
The boy paid no attention to the impatient hooting of the owl as he tentatively poked the letter with his wand. No noticeable difference. Hadrian poked it a couple more times for good measure. With the wand tip, he flipped the envelope over.
The Black emblem sealed the envelope. Alphard? Hadrian slowly took the letter into his hands and opened it.
Your invited to my birthday ball; taking place noon tomorrow at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Do invite your father, I've been very eager to meet your family.
P.S. Send your reply with King. Also, if you do not have any proper ball attire, I have dress robes I would like you to see you wear.
How unexpected. Hadrian had never been invited to a ball. Should he go? The boy found himself dreading the idea. How were you supposed to act at one of those? Would more snobs like Malfoy be there?
Invite Morfin to high society birthday ball? What a ludicrous idea! Though, it could prove to be entertaining.
He should go, it would be the only appropriate thing to do, giving how much Alphard had helped him in the past. It was his birthday…
The boy trudged back inside, owl following, and wrote a reply accepting the invitation. King had decided Hadrian had wasted too much of his time; pecking at the boy when his fingers paused in their writing. The bird lost his balance once again as it held its leg out for Hadrian. With a chuckle at the bird's expense, Hadrian sent off the letter.
One more letter to send.
Let me know what you think.
I had to make Hadrian hock a loogie at Tom. It makes me feel better for the horrible things I have planned for Hadrian in the future. By horrible I do NOT mean rape or anything too bad, btw. Mostly just situations that make Hadrian frustrated. And eventually Hadrian will have his own wins over Riddle.
Is all slash on just smut? It's been years since I used to read fan fiction; I'm having trouble finding the ones I used to enjoy. I could have sworn there were some really good plotty ones on AFF. Maybe they were deleted : ( And the websites! I think a good chunk of those went down. Do any of you know if dystopia (or something similar I think) is still around? I remember it was a fan fiction archive that was for Tom Riddle centric fics, and I can't find it. I have not even been able to find any of the old SBHP and RLHP archives. Oh well, I probably shouldn't even start reading anyways, it will take too much of my time for writing.
Next chapter Hadrian and Tom have their first physical contact! Nothing slashy, but they actually touch. Lol at the end of their scene in this chapter, I noticed I have not had them touch at all. I might start making the chapters twice as long before I update. But that means updates will take longer.
Also, to anyone reading WtDE, I am sorry for not updating it. I have a bit of the next chapter written….But this story has hijacked my attention.